Queen Elizabeth II has graced UK stamps for 70 years, but now we’re coming to the end of an era; Royal Mail have released their final commemorative stamp issue with the Queen’s silhouette, celebrating the centenary of the world’s most famous locomotive – Flying Scotsman.
So, before we steam ahead towards the BRAND-NEW Flying Scotsman editions, let’s take a look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s iconic 70-year reign in UK postage…
The beginning of Queen Elizabeth II stamps
1953 marked the beginning of Her Majesty’s Reign and the introduction of the Wildings – a series of definitive postage and revenue stamps featuring Dorothy Wilding’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which were used up until 1967.
The first four stamps to be issued within this series were for Her Majesty’s 1953 Coronation, presented in the colours of Carmine-Red, Ultramarine, Deep Yellow-Green and Deep Grey-Blue.
Commemorative stamps were then introduced during the 1950s and early 1960s. However, the Postmaster General, Tony Benn, proposed a new criteria outlining what could appear on them. From 1965, it was decided that all GB stamps had to include a small silhouette of the Queen based on the coinage head of Mary Gillick, which then became the standard.
Two once-in-a-lifetime tributes
And now, Royal Mail have issued twelve commemorative editions featuring Flying Scotsman.
Not only are they the official UK stamps to mark the centenary of the world’s most famous locomotive, but they will also be the last to show the Queen’s silhouette after 70 years – marking two incredible moments in British history!
These nostalgic editions portray the steam locomotive travelling through North Yorkshire, Northumberland, Berwick-on-Tweed and London’s Victoria Station. Inspired by poster artwork from the 1920s and 1930s, Royal Mail’s spokesman David Gold intends for them to evoke “the golden age of steam travel”.
Your chance to celebrate both!
To pay tribute to such monumental moments in history, a limited-edition coin and stamp cover has been released, comprised of The Royal Mint’s Official UK 2023 Flying Scotsman £2 in Brilliant Uncirculated Quality along with Royal Mail’s BRAND-NEW Flying Scotsman stamps.
But considering these are the last UK stamps to feature Queen Elizabeth II, we are predicting insatiable demand – and we have already seen sell-outs at The Royal Mint for the Flying Scotsman coin range.
When I think of the world’s most famous steam locomotive, only one name springs to mind – Flying Scotsman.
And as we approach the 100th anniversary since it was introduced to the railway, we can reflect on its remarkable history with The Royal Mint’s BRAND-NEW UK 2023 Flying Scotsman £2 coin.
But first, let’s travel back an entire century to see where it all began…
Built in Doncaster 100 years ago, Flying Scotsman was the first locomotive of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway. It went into service on 24 February 1923 and was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the LNER at the time.
In 1928, Flying Scotsman was redesigned with a revised corridor. This meant the crew could take over service without the locomotive having to stop, reducing the journey time from London to Edinburgh by eight hours!
As a result, Flying Scotsman hauled the first-ever non-stop service from London to Edinburgh on 1 May 1928.
By 1934, Flying Scotsman was the first locomotive in the UK to reach 100mph on rails. It was also the first locomotive to circumnavigate the globe in 1989 – both remarkable feats at the time!
Flying Scotsman retired in 1963 but returned to the tracks in 2022, hauling a limited number of steam excursions just prior to its 100th anniversary.
The UK 2023 Flying Scotsman £2 Coin
In celebration of 100 years since the world’s most famous steam locomotive took to the tracks, The Royal Mint have released a very special £2 commemorative coin.
Depicting a nostalgic side-on view of the locomotive during one of its many rail journeys, the coin features a thoughtfully crafted design by John Bergdahl.
What’s more, your £2 comes available in Brilliant Uncirculated, Silver Proof, Silver Piedfort or Gold Proof quality!
And interestingly, it has been more than two decades since The Royal Mint last released a colour-printed UK £2 commemorative coin. So, this range marks a special moment for the £2 coin, as it includes a colour-printed Silver Proof AND Silver Proof Piedfort edition!
But with just limited numbers available, you must act now to secure yours!
Happy New Year everyone! And with a New Year comes new coins…
The Royal Mint has issued 5 brand new UK commemorative coins in their 2023 Annual Coin Set, celebrating some of the most significant anniversaries of the year.
The FIRST 2023 dated coins featuring King Charles III
Importantly, each of the coins in this set will feature the new King Charles III portrait on the obverse for the first time, welcoming a new era of UK coinage.
King Charles III 75th Birthday £5
The first coin in the set is a brand new £5 coin, issued to celebrate King Charles III’s 75th Birthday. The King will celebrate his milestone birthday on 14th November, this along with his coronation on 6th May is sure to make 2023 a monumental year for His Majesty.
This £5 coin pays tribute to the newly crowned monarch with a heraldic design that’s been approved by His Majesty, along with an edge inscription on the precious metal editions reading ‘RESTORING HARMONY WITH NATURE’.
75 Years of the NHS 50p
To mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS, a brand new UK 50p has been issued. The design features just some of the words that can be used to describe our incredible NHS, such as dedication, hope, respect, compassion and dignity.
What’s more, The Royal Mint will be donating 100% of proceeds from the NHS 50p to NHS Charities, meaning that a portion of your purchase will go directly to providing extra support for staff, patients and NHS communities.
The Windrush Generation 50p
The second 50p in the set marks 75 years since the HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks. The ship has become symbolic of its passengers and their subsequent generations who have played a pivotal role in shaping the United Kingdom since the Second World War.
Designed by artist Valda Jackson, the 50p depicts 2 of the ship’s passengers set against a backdrop of the Union Jack.
J R R Tolkein £2
The first new £2 coin has been issued to mark 50 years since the death of one of the most famous authors in British history, J R R Tolkein. Best known for creating The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Tolkein led a popular resurgence of the fantasy genre, leading to him being identified as the ‘father of modern fantasy literature’.
In honour of his intellect and imagination, this £2 features Tolkein’s unique monogram surrounded by an incredibly detailed runic band and the quote ‘NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST’ as the edge inscription.
Flying Scotsman £2
The last coin in the set is another £2, this one celebrating 100 years of the world record holding locomotive, the Flying Scotsman. Built in 1923 at Doncaster Works, the Flying Scotsman was the first locomotive to officially reach 100mph, the first to circumnavigate the globe and break the record for the longest non stop run in a steam locomotive.
The coin’s design features the iconic locomotive along with the years 1923-2023 and its LNER number, 4472. The edge inscription also reads ‘LIVE FOR THE JOURNEY’.
Secure the 2023 Annual Set
The 2023 Annual Coin set is available in Silver Proof, Gold Proof, DateStamp, Proof quality and of course, brilliant uncirculated quality.
Securing the 2023 Annual Set is the only way to own these commemorative UK coins before they’re individually released later in the year, so to be one of the first to have these coins in your collection, click here >>